Alcoholism and Cancer in Women

Alcohol and Cancer in Women

Alcoholism and Cancer in Women

Cancer kills 526,000 Americans every year and is only second to heart disease. Cancers in the lungs, large bowel, and breasts are the most common in the United States. There is a lot of evidence linking alcoholism and cancer, especially in women. It is estimated 2 to 4 percent of all cancer cases are thought to be caused either directly or indirectly by alcohol consumption.

What is cancer?

Cancer is a group of diseases that is characterized by cells that start growing out of control. Most of the time cancer forms from masses of cells or tumors that crowd out and even destroy normal tissue. The body normally controls normal cells to grow within the confines of tissues, cancer cells reproduce and grow all by themselves and are not stopped by tissue boundaries. Cancer develops in three stages: initiation, promotion and progression. Cancer-causing agents are known as carcinogens and can contribute to the first two stages of cancer.

Alcoholism and its link to cancer

Alcohol enhances the carcinogenic effects of other chemicals. Alcohol’s enhancing effect on certain carcinogens may have to do with enzymes. Some enzymes that normally help the body to detoxify can also increase the toxicity of some carcinogens. For instance carcinogens from tobacco and diet can become more potent as they pass through the esophagus, lungs, and intestines and encounter the activated enzyme. Alcohol is able to create an enzyme that associated with cancer in the liver, lungs, esophagus, and intestines.

Alcoholism and cancer in women

Women who consume even one alcoholic drink a day have an increased cancer risk, a study shows. The study showed that women who drank alcohol, around one drink day, had an increased cancer risk. The risk for cancer increased with alcohol intake especially for cancers of the breast, liver, rectum, mouth, throat and esophagus. Based on the findings in the research, it is estimated that alcohol could be the culprit for 13% of the cancers found in the women. The link between alcoholism and breast cancer has been proven over and over again but this is the first study to link low-to-moderate alcohol consumption to other cancers in women.

Alcoholism and breast cancer in women

Last year alone about 250,000 women were diagnosed with invasive and non-invasive breast cancers in the United States, according to the American Cancer society. The latest research on alcoholism and breast cancer in women suggested that 27,000 of those cancers were related to alcoholism. Women who drank only wine had the same risk for developing cancer as those who drank beer, spirits or a combination of different alcoholic beverages. Along with that, less than 2% of the women who participated in the study consumed more than three drinks a day but each drink heightened their risk for breast cancer. There is also the fact that women who smoke and drank alcohol had a very increased risk of oral, throat, and esophageal cancer. The risk was greater than the risk associated with smoking alone.

Source: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/dietandphysicalactivity/alcohol-use-and-cancer